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Lacrosse's Rise Results in College Opportunities

As a youngster, John Yozzo-Scaperrotta worked hard in the hopes of realizing his dream of becoming an impact player for Dobbs Ferry High School in football and basketball.

He never could have imagined then that a sport he had never even played, and that Dobbs Ferry did not even offer as a varsity sport at that time, would be the one he would wind up playing in college.

Now a senior at Dobbs Ferry, Yozzo-Scaperrotta has verbally committed to play college lacrosse at Brown University.

While Westchester has perennially been a prime recruiting target for college coaches, the growth of lacrosse has expanded the horizon beyond such tradition-rich programs as Yorktown, John Jay, Lakeland/Panas, Somers and Mahopac.

Case in point, Dobbs Ferry, which fielded a varsity team for the first time this past spring, finishing 15-4 and advancing to the Class C sectional semifinals.

Yozzo-Scaperrotta gave lacrosse a try as an eighth-grader after being prodded by Dobbs Ferry Athletic Director Jim Lindsay, both of whose sons, Sean and Jim (now the head coach at Lakeland/Panas), played Division I lacrosse.

"I knew immediately that lacrosse was going to be significant in my life,” said Yozzo-Scaperrotta, a left-handed midfielder.

For his part, Lindsay knew Yozzo-Scaperrotta had the best chance of landing a college opportunity in lacrosse.

“He’s 6-foot-2 and a very good athlete,” Lindsay said. “That’s all they (college coaches) have to see.”

Because he has not been playing the game as long as most other college recruits, Yozzo-Scaperrotta’s stick skills and shooting accuracy are still improving. Size and speed are his biggest strengths.

“He could play defensive middie in college right away though,” Lindsay said.

Most college coaches who recruited Yozzo-Scaperrotta, including Brown, Hobart, Holy Cross and Lehigh, saw him during the summer months, when he played for the Cross River-based Prime Time travel team.

Ditto for Jibran Ahmad of the Hackley School, who, like Yozzo-Scaperrotta, is a 6-foot-2 middie with good speed who is also a relative newcomer to the game.

“I think I realized my potential the summer of ninth grade when I played summer lacrosse for the first time,” Ahmad said.

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